Sriracha Lamb Koftas

These sriracha lamb koftas are delicious served in lightly toasted pittas packed full of salad and onion, served with lots more sriracha for dipping. Gently spiced with cumin, sriracha and full of garlic and chives. They’re delicious eaten alfresco or on the BBQ. Make them for a delicious change to burgers.

Serves 4

Makes 8 koftas

Ingredients

400g lamb mince

3 tablespoons sriracha

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 cloves garlic – minced

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

12 chives – snipped small

Glug of olive oil

Extra sriracha for dipping

Pitta and salad with onion to serve.

Method

Add the lamb mince and all your ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine. I do this wearing disposable gloves!

Form the mince into 8 patties. I do this by dividing the mince into half and making four out of each half of the mince so I get even koftas. If time is on your side pop them in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up. If not pop them straight into a hot pan with a glug or two of olive oil in it.

With a pan slice move the patties about and turn every now and then to cook evenly. You might need to press them down with the pan slice to keep them in a nice shape.

Once they look bronzed and lightly crisp they’re ready to serve.

Lightly toast your pittas and cut in half. Open them with a knife being careful not to let the steam scald you! Now load in your koftas along with all the salad and onion and more sriracha. Enjoy!


Duck Breast with Plum and Red Wine Sauce

A beautiful alternative to a roast dinner that takes under half an hour to put on the table. It really is worth making your own plum and red wine sauce, especially since it’s virtually impossible to find one in the shops. Let the duck rest for five minutes or so before slicing.

We had this with a nice glass of Shiraz. Don’t waste any left over wine if there is any chance of doing so just pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze to use in stocks and sauces at a later date.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 duck breasts

1 shallot

3 plums, stoned and sliced into thin wedges

50ml red wine

300ml stock

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Score your duck in a criss cross pattern.

Pan fry skin side down in a knob of butter heated in the frying pan on a fairly high heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for a further minute.

Place on a foil lined baking tray skin side up and cook for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Meanwhile, make the plum and red wine sauce. Start by pan frying your chopped shallot in a glug of hot olive oil until it is softened. Add red wine and stock. Blitz with a stick blender if you want a smooth sauce which is what I prefer. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add your brown sugar and stir.

When the duck is ready simply pour the sauce over the duck and serve with creamy mashed potatoes and veg of choice.


Beef Curry

A beautiful beef curry that falls apart upon biting into it. The sauce is a blend of tomatoes and coconut milk. I used low fat coconut milk as an experiment to keep it lower fat and to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference in this curry. Feel free to add a few vegetables. Courgettes and butternut squash would work well. Always with mango chutney though! Tip: Throw a few cardamom pods or a cinnamon stick in with your rice while it is steaming to add flavour.

Serves 4

Ingredients

350g diced beef

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 can of chickpeas

3 cloves garlic – minced

Thumb sized piece of ginger – grated

1 onion – sliced

400ml can of coconut milk – I used light

500g passata

1 tablespoon mango chutney

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon hot curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

200ml water

Method

Pre heat oven to 160c / 140c fan

In a large pan ( one that has a lid) cook your onions low and slow in the hot vegetable oil until softened.

Add your minced garlic and grated ginger, stirring all the while.

Now add your all the spices and the beef. Stir for a minute or two just to brown the meat.

Pour in the passata and coconut milk and stir to fully combine.

Add your chickpeas and mango chutney, salt and water.

Pop on the lid and place in the oven for 2 and a half hours stirring every hour. The meat should be soft and fall apart upon biting into it.

Serve with rice and a tomato and onion salad for extra deliciousness.


Jerk Chicken Breast and Mango Salsa

I’ve made jerk chicken before but always with chicken thighs or wings. Truth be told I think I prefer it that way but this is still delicious and bursting with Caribbean flavour.

The mango salsa gives a bit of welcome relief to the spiciness of the chicken.

Make sure you make the marinade the day before you serve the chicken and marinate overnight in the fridge. This is an absolute must for maximum flavour. If you are bbqing the chicken I recommend making double of the marinade so you have lots to baste the chicken with while it is sizzling away on the bbq.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

Marinade

2 limes – juice of

1 onion – diced

5 spring onions – chopped

6-8 sprigs of thyme – remove the stalk so leaves only

3 scotch bonnet chillis – no others as only these will do

Heaped teaspoon of all purpose seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup dark soy sauce

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

3-4 dessert spoons honey

1 dessert spoon grated ginger

4 tablespoons light brown soft sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons olive oil – to pan fry

Method

You must without fail marinade the chicken the night before you cook it or else it won’t be how it should be. Scotch bonnet chillis are also a must for the most authentic flavour.

Put the chicken in a large bowl, score with a knife and squeeze over the juice of 2 limes. Obviously wash your hands after you’ve handled raw chicken and all that.

Roughly chop your onion and spring onions, thyme, chillis, chopped garlic and all the spices and other ingredients for the sauce and blend so it is a bit of a gritty consistency, basically not too smooth. It will smell wonderful.

Now pour this all over the chicken and rub in. I put sandwich bags on my hands and do this. Give it a little massage in to lock in the flavour!

Cover, refrigerate and leave overnight!

If you are going to cook on the hob heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil over a medium to high heat and once hot add your chicken breasts. Continue to pan fry turning every couple of minutes until the chicken is bronzed and crisp. Baste all the while with the marinade, there should be plenty for this.

Alternatively if you are bbqing the chicken simply place on the bbq grill until full cooked through basting and turning all the time.

Serve with my coleslaw and rice and peas recipes under my sides section or with this delicious mango salsa recipe below which you simply mix together and serve alongside the jerk chicken.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango

1 small onion diced

Handful coriander – chopped

1/2 red pepper diced


Lemon Chicken Orzo

A beautiful dinner that is full of vibes of mediterranean sunshine. Buttery lemony orzo with chicken and asparagus, added protein with the chickpeas. What’s not to love? If you prefer a veggie option simply leave out the chicken add a little more chickpeas and asparagus. Beautiful with an ice cold glass of white or rosé.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts – chopped into cubes

160g orzo ( 80g per person)

Vegetable stock

2 cloves garlic – minced

Cup of chickpeas

Juice of a lemon

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Splash of white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Start by boiling a pan of water and a vegetable stock cube. When the water is boiling add your orzo and set a timer. Mine took 6 minutes.

At the same time bring another pan of water to the boil and add your asparagus.

While your orzo is cooking heat a tablespoon of olive oil in your large frying pan. Add your chicken pieces to the pan and pan fry along with your garlic, splash of white wine and the lemon juice.

Now your orzo should be ready. Drain and add a knob of butter, do the same for your asparagus. Transfer both to the the pan of ingredients along with your drained chickpeas.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.


Ragu Bolognese

Oh my! This was hands down one of the most delicious dinners I’ve made in a long time. Slow cooked beef that falls apart and melts in your mouth, coated in a silky rich sauce. It tastes so indulgent and it couldn’t be simpler. You need to slow cook your beef for two and a half hours over a low heat on the hob so this is one for when you are pottering about in the kitchen.

Works beautifully with tagliatelle. Everyone loved it and to my glee I had requests to make it again and again.

Serves 4

Ingredients

350g braising steak pieces

1 medium onion

1 celery stick

1 carrot

500g passata

1 cup red wine

1 litre beef stock – I used a stock cube and 2 tablespoons of Bovril

Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Method

Start by chopping your onion, carrot and celery into small pieces.

Heat up your olive oil in a large pan or cooking pot and add your chopped onion, carrot and celery for 10 minutes or so stirring all the time. This is called a soffritto and it will give your sauce the most amazing aromatic flavour. You want to sauté them until the onion is soft and translucent and the vegetables are soft and caramelised but do not burn them.

Add the beaf steak to brown for a couple of minutes stirring all the time.

Now add your wine and turn up the heat a little to reduce.

Pour in the passata, stock and season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Now simply leave to gently cook away over a low heat, checking every 20 minutes or so with a stir here and there.

10 minutes before cooking time is up bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and add your tagliatelle for as long as the instructions advise. Usually around 10 minutes for al dente. This will ensure the pasta is ready once the cooking time is up. Drain the pasta in a colander and add back to the saucepan swirling in a knob of butter.

Once the cooking time is up the sauce will be thick and deliciously rich in flavour. The meat should fall apart. Don’t be afraid to gently break the meat up a little more with the wooden spoon and stir into the sauce. Toss the pasta in immediately.

Tip: I like mine with chopped basil on top and freshly grated parmesan. Serve with a delicious garlic ciabatta and a glass of red.


Honey Paprika Chicken

A quick and easy marinade to liven up chicken but works great on salmon too. I served it with lots of fresh salad packed with lettuce, olives, cucumber and peppers. I make up a dressing with 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar along with a clove of minced garlic and some salt and cracked black pepper.

Best served in the sunshine with an ice cold glass of your favourite white wine.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 chicken steaks or breasts

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Clove of garlic – minced

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon while cooking

Method

Mix up your marinade in a large bowl and add your chicken to it to marinate, coating fully. If you have the time to marinate the night before, then all the better otherwise half an hour or so would be fine while you are preparing the salad etc.

Simply add a little olive oil to your griddle / frying pan and cook the chicken until it is fully cooked through. If I’m using chicken breasts rather than steaks I would recommend cutting them in half to reduce cooking time.

Serve with your desired salad and carb of choice.


Thai-Style Drunken Noodles with Prawns

Inspired by a recipe card while doing my shopping in Waitrose. I made these lovely Thai style drunken noodles with prawns with a few of my own tweaks, substituting the odd ingredient here and there. It was such a lovely light dinner full of oriental flavour.

Ingredients

150g noodles

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon ketjap manis

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons groundnut oil + 1 teaspoon for the noodles

180g king prawns

1 small onion – thinly sliced

10 asparagus spears

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Half a red chillis – sliced

Half a lime

Method

Start by boiling your noodles in boiling water for the advised cooking time. Drain and stir through a teaspoon of groundnut oil. Set aside.

In a large wok or frying pan heat your groundnut oil and pan fry your onions until they are softened now add the asparagus and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for another minute or so.

Now add your prawns and pan fry until cooked through. Stirring all the time.

Add your soy sauce, fish sauce, ketjap manis and brown sugar to a small bowl, mix and add to the pan.

Now toss in your noodles and stir the pan to mix everything up a little.

Serve immediately with lime wedges to squeeze over.


Turkey Schnitzel

Schnitzel is more delicious than it looks. I like experimenting with different breadcrumb recipes to change up the flavour. Serve it with a range of dips, in a wrap or bun or just on it’s own with a rainbow salad.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 turkey escalopes

1 dessert spoon onion granules

1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 dessert spoon paprika

2 slices brown bread

Cup of plain flour

1 egg – beaten

1 teaspoon garlic granules

Method

Whizz up your bread in a food processor so it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add salt, pepper and spices. Stir to combine.

Scatter your flour over the work surface and one by one dip your turkey escalopes into it followed by the beaten egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture.

Place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.


Peri Peri Chicken

Portuguese food brings back so many happy memories of being in Portugal laughing and drinking rosé with friends. Chicken peri peri is a Portuguese classic that I’ve sampled many times. It is amazing with chips, rice or my oregano and feta potatoes. I’m all for a simple no fuss dinner but tastes like you’ve gone to so much effort.

Literally mix up the marinade, massage it into the chicken (rubber gloves optional) and whack it in the oven. The marinade is also lovely on chicken cooked over the bbq just make double for basting.

Ingredients

1 large whole chicken. I used a 1.9kg chicken

For the marinade

2 teaspoons chilli flakes

4 cloves garlic – minced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons oregano

Salt and pepper to season

Juice of a lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Mix up your marinade in small bowl or cup.

Place your chicken in a large baking dish and pour over the marinade massaging it in so every part of the chicken is coated. I use surgical gloves for this!

Roast in the centre of a hot oven according to instructions on how long you need to cook your chicken. I cooked my 1.9kg chicken for 1 hour 45 minutes. Don’t forget to baste every half hour or so with the cooking juices this will keep the chicken moist and make sure it doesn’t dry out during cooking.

Tip: Serve Nando’s style with hot buttered corn on the cobs.